Today is the 75th anniversary of D-Day. I watched CBS’ Morning show report from Normandy, and the camera panned the faces of the living veterans who stormed that beach to take out German soldiers that eventually ended World War II. These men, these courageous men, were in their 20s, or younger. As I looked at their faces, I could see their eyes daze, and perhaps their minds went back to that day. Of course, these men now are in their 90s, and some were in wheelchairs, but they knew how they held their guns, ran upon the sand to prevent the madness of Nazi thinking from spreading. They probably remembered their fellow soldiers fall on the sand and die a heroic death for the survival of freedom.
It is interesting because this past week, I watched the movie, “Monuments Men” starring George Clooney and Matt Damon, among other actors. A former colleague recommended that I watch the movie, and I finally got around to watching it. I was fascinated! It is a true story about several men in the art, and the architectural world decided to go into the battle to save precious pieces of art. They went through basic training and began to map out the destinations of particular parts of stolen art. I won’t talk about the entire movie, but I was so fascinated by this story because these men risked their lives for art! Two of the men were killed in the mission, but they were saving pieces of art that we now look at with opened eyes! If it weren’t for the purpose, I wouldn’t have been able to see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris!
Also, today, I volunteered some time at my church during a funeral. An older woman had unexpectedly passed away, and you could tell by her distraught family members. Her daughter, especially, was in tears. I had checked on the family as they gathered in the conference room before the service; I wanted to make sure they had water, tissues, and checked the air temperature. I handed out the programs, along with another greeter, and conducted little errands. After the service was over, I went to the daughter. Something compelled me to go and talk to her. She was surrounded by her family and friends, but I pushed through and held her shoulder.
I introduced myself and told her, “I know how you feel. Don’t worry, your mother is with you now, and she wants you to be the woman she raised you to be.” She hugged me and said, “Thank you.” At the time, I don’t know why I said that to her, but now at home, I realized that my heart is healed about losing my mother. This past Mother’s Day, I had a difficult time getting out of bed. I felt alone and sad; I thought about how my mother loved me the best way she could. She had a difficult life before she got married to my dad, and I believe her nightmarish life was something she never resolved. I am not sure about the details of her younger years, but knowing that she lived with her grandmother most of her life, her family was dysfunctional. In any case, I believe this past Mother’s Day, I truly grieved for the last time for my mother. I was strong enough to help another daughter enter life without a mother.
I’m not at that point about my dad. That wound is still fresh, even after 11 years.
But, my point to all of this is remembrance. Remembering the past with open arms; embracing what has happened to move on for the future. Remembering what happened in Normandy helps us to embrace freedom! Remembering lost loved ones helps us to remember who we are and how much we were loved.
In other words, celebrate freedom! Celebrate life!